WILMINGTON -- Grab your fishing rod, bait and tackle -- fishing season is upon us. But recent weather, and more importantly, fuel prices, have some charter fishermen concerned for the coming months. Tommy Lorenzin is the first mate on the blue marlin...a charter fishing boat that takes people as far out as the Gulf Stream. Lorenzin said, "When I started doing it 16 years ago diesel fuel was 79 cents a gallon and you could go to the Gulf Stream for $950. Right now we're paying over $3.50 a gallon and it's closer to $2,000 to go to the Gulf Stream." Weather patterns have moved the Gulf Stream farther offshore this year. That means a longer trip there, using more fuel. The fishing boats at Carolina Beach docks are open for business and ready to go. But with it costing crew members about $1,300 to fill up one of these boats, people looking for a fun day out on the water can expect to pay more than in years past. Lorenzin says he and his crew are charging 25 percent more for offshore trips this year. Captain Fred Holland realizes that could put a damper on some vacations. Holland said, "When the six guys at the office or the plant want to get together and come down and they look at what it's going to cost them to get here -- and then what it's going to cost them to fish -- it's becoming prohibitive." A trip on the Blue Marlin will cost you anywhere from $600-$1,700. Thanks to fuel-saving techniques fishing trips closer to shore aren't costing much more than in years past "The fish might be where you really want to fish 30 miles. Instead of running the boat all the way there, we might stop in ten miles short of there and pick some fish along the way and at trolling speed as opposed to running the boat and save a good bit of fuel that way," Holland said. While their phones aren't ringing as much as they'd like the fishermen remain optimistic. Lorenzin says no matter what, there are always people who want to fish. The fishermen hope business picks up soon after the wind dies down. They'll also rely on short, inshore trips this summer that don't cost as much as going offshore.
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